CLEVELAND (May 15, 2014) – National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa announced that the Cleveland Museum of Art will receive a $50,000 NEA Art Works grant. These funds will be used to support provenance research of specific works in the European collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art. The museum will seek to clarify gaps in the provenance of this collection targeting the 1933-1945 period. The information discovered will generate rich content for educational programs, increasing public knowledge and awareness of the European collection and, more broadly, the history of collecting.
NEA Acting Chairman Shigekawa said, "The NEA is pleased to announce that the Cleveland Museum of Art is recommended for an NEA Art Works grant. These NEA-supported projects will not only have a positive impact on local economies, but will also provide opportunities for people of all ages to participate in the arts, help our communities to become more vibrant, and support our nation's artists as they contribute to our cultural landscape."
Provenance research establishes the history of ownership of works of art in the collection, including new acquisitions, and is a critical tool in establishing authenticity and understanding the history of collecting. In March 2013, the Cleveland Museum of Art inaugurated a pilot study to establish the provenance of a group of approximately 50 paintings selected from the American and European paintings collections. The NEA Art Works grant expands this project to a second year to include an additional 48 works of art in the museum’s collection of European paintings with gaps in the 1933-1945 provenance history. Clarifying gaps in the provenance of this collection may determine if any works were involved in the systematic art plunder by the Nazis. Beginning this year, results of the 2013 research will be published on the museum’s web site at clevelandart.org/research/in-curatorial/provenance-research
“The Cleveland Museum of Art is taking a leadership role in provenance research,” said Fred Bidwell, interim director. “Last year, we created a position for a full-time provenance research assistant, one of only a few American museums who have done so. The generous NEA Art Works grant will enable this work to continue in robust fashion, allowing more information about the collections to be discovered and become available to both scholars and the general public.”
Art Works grants support the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and enhancement of the livability of communities through the arts. The NEA received 1,515 eligible applications under the Art Works category, requesting more than $76 million in funding. Of those applications, 886 are recommended for grants for a total of $25.8 million. For a complete listing of projects recommended for Art Works grant support, please visit the NEA website at arts.gov.